May 1, 2014

A common-sense solution for railway crude-oil accidents

Updated below.

Okay, so some guys have to make zillions of dollars by shipping dangerous crude oil around the country by rail, passing through residential areas where they cause untold horrors when they derail. They have to make all that money! It's imperative. And so we get repeats of scenes like this:
Crews used cranes and other heavy equipment Thursday to clean up a derailment that plunged oil-carrying tanker cars into a Virginia river while state officials worked to determine the environmental impact of the thousands of gallons of spilled crude.
Apparently, until bureaucratic fools can agree on a remedy such as retro-fitting the tankers or building newer, stronger cars, the American people have to suffer the consequences of these events occurring over and over and over.

Uh...wouldn't it make sense to say that until we come up with a solution that everyone can agree on, the trains should be limited to speeds under 20 mph? Wouldn't that eliminate these traumatic incidents? 

It's a simple interim solution -- so obviously no one will suggest it. Remember the book, "The Ugly American"? If a similar, timely book were written today, it would be called "American Git". We are becoming a totally senseless country. If you don't believe me, turn on a cable news station and listen for five minutes.

Uh huh. Gits.


I wondered about the speed issue and found this:

One key factor in train derailments that influences the extent of damage is speed.  The models that predict failure rates of tank cars during derailments use an "average accident" speed of 27 mph. Yet, even the NTSB Chair Hersman pointed out that it is not realistic, given the higher speeds seen in some of the serious derailments in recent years and the fact that the new standard adopted by the railroads on routes outside of major cities is 50 mph.  Reducing train speeds would be one effective strategy to reduce risk of catastrophic derailments. 

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